The Christian Memoir and Self-Publishing

Stephen W. Hiemstra, 1983

The Christian Memoir and Self-Publishing

On Sunday, March 19th, 2017 author and publisher Stephen W. Hiemstra (PhD, MDiv) will talk about writing a Christian memoir and self-publishing after the 11 a.m. worship service at Lewinsville Presbyterian Church ( in the chapel. All are welcome. Refreshments will be served.
Mark your calendar and RSVP at to receive a follow-up reminder before the talk with updated details. Information about Dr. Hiemstra’s publications can be found at:
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Lenten Study Guide 2017: The Small Catechism of Martin Luther

The Small Catechism of Martin Luther



Introduction: DAILY PRAYERS

Ash Wednesday – March 1


As soon as I get out of bed, I say (and may bless myself with the sign of the cross

to remember that I am baptized):             

“In the name of the Father, and of + the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Then I say the Creed and pray the Lord’s Prayer.


 I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary, 

suffered under Pontius Pilate, 

was crucified, died, and was buried;  

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

               he is seated at the right hand of the Father, 

and he will come to judge

the living and the dead. 

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic church,

the communion of saints,

 the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

               and the life everlasting. Amen .



 Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name,

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done,      

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses,      

as we forgive those   

who trespass against us;

And lead us not into temptation,    

but deliver us from evil.      

               For thine is the kingdom,                  

                             and the power, and the glory,                       

  forever and ever. Amen.

I may end with this prayer (or say it with my family):

I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me through the night from danger and harm. I pray you to keep me by your grace today from sin and every evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you.  Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all things. Let your holy angel be with me, that the evil one have no power over me. Amen.

After that, I do my daily work with joy. 

Thursday, March 2


When I go to bed, I say (and may bless myself with the sign of the cross to remember that I am baptized):             

“In the name of the Father, and of + the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Then I say the Creed and pray the Lord’s PrayerI may end the day with this prayer (or say it with my family):

               I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have kept me through the day from danger and harm. I pray you to forgive me my sins and all the wrong I have done.   Keep me through the night by your grace. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all things. 

Let your holy angel be with me, that the evil one have no power over me. Amen.

After this, I go to sleep with joy.

Friday, March 3


I say Psalm 145:15

“The eyes of all look to you, O Lord, and you give everyone food at the right time. You open your generous hands and satisfy the hunger of all living things.”

Then I pray a prayer like this:

Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and these gifts which we receive from your generous hands, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Saturday, March 4

The First Commandment: “I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods.”

Q. What is this?

A. We must fear, love, and trust God more than anything else.

Prayer: Lord God, forgive me when I forget you and love myself more than I love you; or when I put things and people above you. Help me to fear, love, and trust you more than anything else. Amen.

1st Sunday in Lent, March 5

The Second Commandment: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”                                                  

Q. What is this?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we do not use his name to curse, swear, lie, deceive, or try to use magical powers. We must speak God’s name to pray, praise, and thank him in all times of trouble.

Prayer: Lord God, heavenly Father, how should I talk about Someone who loves me as you do? How should I talk about Someone I love?  Help me through your Son and the Holy Spirit! Amen.

Monday, March 6

The Third Commandment: “Remember the Lord’s day, to keep it holy.”                                                                              Q.

Q. What is this?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we do not look down on the preaching of God’s Word. We must treat it as holy and listen to it gladly.

Prayer: Father, I do not always listen to the pastor as I should. Please don’t stop preaching to me the Law that points out my sin and the Gospel that forgives my sin through your Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 Tuesday, March 7

   The Fourth Commandment: “Honor your father and mother.”

Q. What is this?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we do not look down on or irritate our parents and other authorities. We must respect, serve, obey, and love them.

Prayer: Lord, there is no peace in this sinful world without parents, teachers, police officers, and others to enforce the laws. Please keep them from love of power, and keep me from rebellion and resentment. Amen.

Wednesday, March 8

      The Fifth Commandment: “You shall not kill.”                                                                                             

Q. What is this?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we do not harm our neighbors. We must protect and help them in every need.

Prayer: O God, I do not keep your commandment just because I never murdered anyone. Forgive me when I have killed with my words or my silence or my coldness towards others. Amen.

Thursday, March 9

           The Sixth Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery.”                                                       

Q. What is this?

A. We must fear and love God, so that our words and actions are clean and decent in matters of sex. Husbands and wives must honor and serve each other.

Prayer: Lord, you created us male and female. Protect our children and youth who grow up in a society that is indecent and dangerous in matters of sex. Wash away my sins, and bless marriage and the family. Amen.

Friday, March 10

                                             The Seventh Commandment: “You shall not steal.”                                                                           

Q. What is this?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we do not take our neighbors’ money or possessions, or try to cheat them. We must help our neighbors to protect their possessions and employment.

Prayer: Father, I steal from you the worship that I owe you when I take what is not mine.  Use the work I do to meet the needs of my family, my church, and your world, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Saturday, March 11

               The Eighth Commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”    

 Q. What is this?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we do not hurt our neighbors by lying, betraying, or insulting them. We must defend our neighbors, say good things about them, and explain what they do in the best possible way.

Prayer: God, I confess that my tongue is like a deadly snake that bites and poisons my neighbor! Clean my mouth and fill it with words that give grace and peace. Amen.


2nd Sunday in Lent – March 12  

 Ninth Commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.”                                                                             

Q. What is this?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we do not envy or try to take our neighbor’s house, property, or personal belongings, or claim to have a right to them. We must help our neighbors to keep what belongs to them.

Prayer: Lord God, forgive me when I envy others. Sometimes I ask, “Why can’t I have all those things?” I even start to feel sorry for myself. Help me to count my blessings and to be happy for other people, and to fear and love you more than anything else. Amen.


Monday, March 13

The Tenth Commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s husband or wife, family, friends, workers, or even pets and animals.”  

 Q. What is this?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we do not interfere in our neighbors’ relationships. We must urge them to stay and be loyal.

Prayer: Father, you are trustworthy and loyal. Please put to death the part of me that is not always loyal and true. Help me to be faithful like you. Amen.

Tuesday, March 14

The Conclusion to the Commandments

Q. What does God say to us about all these commandments?

A. “I am the LORD your God, and I am a jealous God. I punish the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who hate me with their ancestor’s sin. But I bless those who love me for a thousand generations” (Exodus 20:5-6).

Prayer: Father, you are jealous for what is yours – your holy name, your Word, your people, your world, and all that you have made. You hate sin. You punish sin until it is gone. Help me to fear, love, and trust you so that my heart may be set to obey your commandments, through Jesus Christ, your Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Wednesday, March 15

Q. What is this?

A. God threatens to punish everyone who breaks these commandments. We should be afraid of his anger, because of his righteousness and not violate his commandments. But God promises grace and every blessing to those who keep his commandments. For this reason, too, we should love and trust God, and willingly obey his commandments.

Prayer: Father, you punished and destroyed my sins in the body of your dear, true Son, Jesus Christ. I would be afraid every minute and never have peace in my life, if I could not believe that I am righteous in your eyes through your Son.  In myself, I am a sinner and deserve nothing but wrath. Instead, you do not punish me as your enemy, but as your child, you love, correct, and discipline me. Keep me in your Holy Spirit that I may trust and love you in all circumstances, and gladly do what you command. Amen.

Part Two: THE CREED 

Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17

The First Article: “I believe in God the Father.”

Q. What is this?

A. I believe that God created me and all creatures. He gave to me and still preserves my body and soul – eyes, ears, and all the other parts of my body, as well as my mind and all my senses. He gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and land, spouse and children, daily work, and all I own. He protects me against all danger, and he shields and defends me from all evil. He does all this because of his pure, fatherly, and divine goodness and mercy, not because I have earned it or deserved it. For all of this, I must thank and praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true!

Prayer 3/16: Father, you have created everything through your eternal Son and the Holy Spirit. Humble my foolish pride and call me to sincere worship. Amen.

Prayer 3/17: Father, everything is a gift from you! You cause the sun to shine and the rain to fall on all people, both grateful and ungrateful. Help me to show goodness to others who don’t deserve it, because neither do I. Amen. 

 Saturday, March 18, and the 3rd Sunday in Lent, March 19, and Monday March 20

The Second Article:  “And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.” 

Q.What is this?

A. I believe that Jesus Christ is true God, begotten of the Father in eternity and true man,  born of the Virgin Mary. He is my Lord! He has saved and redeemed me – a lost and condemned person. He bought and freed me from all sins, death, and the power of the devil. It did not cost him silver or gold, but his holy, precious blood and his innocent, suffering body – his death! Because of this, I belong to him. I live under him in his kingdom and serve him. I share forever his righteousness, innocence, and blessedness – for he is risen from death and lives and reigns forever. This is most certainly true!

Prayer 3/18: Dearest Jesus, you are the eternal Son of God, but at Christmas I see you as a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in your mother’s arms. I see how you grew up and became a man – how people followed you to hear what you said; how you were loved by those who knew you; how you healed the sick; how hungry people were fed when they were with you; how little children sat on your lap; and how you called all people to enter the kingdom of God. Thank you for being my Lord and the Savior of all the world. Amen.

Prayer 3/19: Holy Jesus, your flesh and blood are divine and more valuable than all the money in the world! You were innocent of all sin. You did not have to die. You chose to be punished in place of the guilty. You truly are the Lamb of God who takes away my sin and gives me peace with God. Amen.

 Prayer 3/20:  Come, Lord Jesus, I am your sin, but you are my righteousness, innocence, and blessedness now and forever. Amen.

Tuesday, March 21 and Wednesday, March 22

The Third Article: I believe in the Holy Spirit.” 

Q. What is this?

A. I believe that – by my own understanding or power – I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him. Instead, the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy, and kept me in the true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth and keeps us united with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.In this Christian church, day after day, the Holy Spirit fully forgives my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day, the Holy Spirit will raise me and all the dead. He will give eternal life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

Prayer 3/21: Come, Holy Spirit, that my unbelief may be driven out. I cannot be a believer on my own. Amen.

Prayer 3/22: Holy Spirit, sustained by you, I may gladly bear and suffer all things, for you will raise me from the dead. Amen.



 Thursday, March 23

Introduction:  “Our Father who art in heaven.”

Q. What is this?

A. God invites us to believe that he really is our Father and we really are his children, so that we will pray with trust and complete confidence, in the same way children come to a loving father with their requests.

Prayer: It is your will that we should not individually name you Father, but together call you our Father.So give us a united love that your name will be holy on our lips. Amen.

Friday, March 24

The First Petition: “Hallowed be thy name.”

Q. What is this?

A. God’s name is holy in and of itself, but we pray that his name will be holy among us.

Q. How does this happen?

A. God’s name is holy among us when the Word of God is taught clearly and purely, and when we live holy lives as his children based on the Word. Help us, heavenly Father, to do this! But anyone who teaches and lives by something other than the Word of God dishonors God’s name among us. Protect us from this, heavenly Father!

Prayer: Father, guard us by your holy Word, that we may remain your children and not commit an offense by which we might prove ourselves to be your enemies and so make of you a dreadful judge. Amen.

 Saturday, March 25

The Second Petition: “Thy kingdom come.”

Q. What is this?

A. God’s kingdom comes by itself without our prayer, but we pray for his kingdom to come to us.

Q. How does this happen?

A. God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us the Holy Spirit, so that we believe his holy Word by his grace and live godly lives here in this world and in the kingdom of heaven.

Prayer: Father, this world is full of sin and death, but your kingdom is a kingdom of grace and life in which the only Lord is your Son, Jesus Christ. Give us the Holy Spirit and faith, that sin may no longer rule us and we may live obedient and acceptable lives, now and forever. Amen. 


4th  Sunday in Lent, March 26

The Third Petition: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Q. What is this?

A. God’s will is done without our prayer, but we pray that God’s will also will be done among us.

Q. How does this happen?

A. God’s will is done in two ways. First, his will of law and justice is done when God destroys and interferes with every evil will that would prevent his kingdom from coming on earth – that is, the will of the devil, the world, and our own sinful desires. Second, his will of grace and peace is done when our Father strengthens us by his Word and Holy Spirit and keeps us living faithfully until the end of our lives. 

Prayer: Ultimately turn us from all sins, Father. Even now, grant that we may obediently serve you according to your will and not our own will. Amen.

Monday, March 27

The Fourth Petition: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Q. What is this?

A. God gives daily bread even to evil people, even without our prayer. But we pray that he will help us to recognize his generosity and receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

Q. What is “Daily Bread’’?

A. “Daily bread” is everything that nourishes our body and meets our needs – such as food, drink, clothing, home, employment, education, health, good weather, money, and possessions. “Daily bread” also includes a godly family, faithful friends, good neighbors, dependable coworkers, honest government, peace, discipline, honor, and other things like these.

Prayer: Our Father, forgive us for taking your gifts for granted! Please allow us to eat our daily bread undisturbed by worries and strife, and with thanks to you for everything. Graciously comfort and tend all who are poor, hungry, and miserable. Amen.

Tuesday, March 28

The Fifth Petition: “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Q. What is this?

A. We pray that our heavenly Father will not look at our sins and so refuse to hear our prayers.  We are not worthy, and we do not deserve the things for which we pray. Yet he wants to give these to us by his grace, even though many times each day we sin and truly deserve only punishment. Because God forgives us, we also want to forgive from our hearts and willingly do good to those who sin against us.

Prayer: Father, I now forgive those who have sinned against me. Forgive each one of us our trespasses. Amen.

Wednesday, March 29

The Sixth Petition: “Lead us not into temptation.”

Q. What is this?

A. God tempts no one. We pray that God will protect us and save us, so that the devil, the world, and our sinful desires will not mislead us into false beliefs, despair, or other serious and shameful sins. Even if these attack us, we pray for grace so that we will win and be victorious in the end. 

Prayer: Our Father, your people will suffer trials and be tempted by the devil until the end of the world, when your Son will return in glory. Forgive us for doubting your goodness and power,

and lead us by the Spirit to believe and trust that you have overcome the world. Amen.


Thursday, March 30

The Seventh Petition: “But deliver us from evil.”

Q. What is this?

A. We pray, as a summary, that our Father in heaven will save us from every kind of evil that threatens body, soul, possessions, and honor. We pray that when our final hour comes, he will grant us a blessed death and in his grace bring us to himself from this valley of tears.

Prayer: Help us to trust your will, Father. Sometimes we wonder, is it your will that a friend is killed in a car accident, or that a mother dies of cancer, or that people go hungry? When you permit bad things to happen, teach us to know for sure that all things work together for good for those who love you. Amen

Friday, March 31

The Doxology: “For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Q. What is this?

A. We must be certain that such prayers are acceptable to our Father in heaven and will be granted. He himself has commanded us to pray in this way, and he promises to answer us.   “Amen” means, “Yes, it will happen this way!”

Prayer: O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you see how the world insults your name and keeps the honor due you to itself. They also take the power, might, wealth, and glory which you are supposed to serve you. We are not helped by their ruin; we would rather see that they be saved with us and worship your name in your kingdom. Amen.


Saturday, April 1

Q. What is Baptism?

A. Baptism is not just plain water. Baptism is water used according to God’s command and united with God’s Word.

Q. Which Word of God?

A. The triune name of God. Our Lord Christ says in Matthew 28:19 – “Go, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Prayer: We are your children, Father, through your Son and Holy Spirit. Keep me in your family always, and don’t let me be an ungrateful son or daughter of yours. Amen.

5th Sunday in Lent, April 2

Q. What gifts does baptism give? What good does it do?

A. Baptism gives to us forgiveness of sins. It redeems us from death and the devil. And baptism gives eternal  salvation to all who believe this– just as God’s words and promises declare.

Q. What are these words and promises of God?

A. As our Lord says in Mark 16:16 – “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; but whoever does not believe will be damned.”

Prayer: Father, your Son’s baptism delivers me from sin, death, and the power of the devil. Baptism is not a powerless ritual. It is salvation to me and to all who believe what your words declare. Help us to believe this, Holy Spirit! Amen.

Monday, April 3

Q. How can water do such great things?

A. Water cannot make these things happen, of course. Everything is done by the Word of God that is with and in the water. Without the Word of God, the water is plain water and not baptism. But with the Word of God, it is baptism – a grace-filled water of life and a bath of new birth in the Holy Spirit.

Q. Where is this written in the Bible?

A. St. Paul says so in Titus 3:5-8 – “God saved us… through this bath of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit. He poured out the Holy Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, so that we are justified by grace and we are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”   This is most certainly true.

Prayer: You have bound yourself to your Word in baptism, dear God, so that I might find you and cling to you. Thank God, I am justified by your grace and not my efforts! Amen.

Tuesday, April 4

Q. What is the practical use of Baptism?

A. The “old Adam” in me is drowned every day by sorrow for my sins and repentance. This is how the old “me” dies, with all my sins and evil desires. Then a new “me” comes to life every day by faith and rises up from death.  My new “self,” cleansed and righteous, will live forever in God’s presence.

Q. Where does God say this?

A. Romans 6:3-4 – “We were buried with Christ through baptism into death. Just as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too live a new life.”

Prayer: Lord, kill my will and bring your will to life in me, every day, until my will is completely dead and only your will remains. Amen.



 Wednesday, April 5

Q. What is “the power of the keys”?

A. The power of the keys is the authority which Christ gave to the church to forgive the sins of those who repent and to declare to those who do not repent that their sins are not forgiven.

Q. What does Christ say?

A. In John 20:23, our Lord Jesus Christ says to the apostles: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive their sins, they are not forgiven.”  Also in Matthew 18:18, Christ says: “I tell you, whatever you hold accountable on earth will be held accountable for God’s judgment in heaven.  Whatever you set free on earth will be set free by God in heaven.”

Prayer: Father, your Spirit entered my life when I was baptized in the name of Jesus. But sometimes I feel trapped by my own sin – trapped with no way out. Thank you for the pastor’s words of forgiveness  that set me free and renew the Spirit in me. Amen

Thursday, April 6

Q. What is individual confession?

A. It has two parts. First, I confess my sins to the pastor in private. Second, I receive “absolution” – that is, forgiveness from the pastor who is speaking for God. I must not doubt, but firmly believe that, in this way, my sins really are forgiven by God in heaven.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, don’t let me doubt the words of the pastor who is speaking for you when the pastor says the Father’s name and tells me my sins are forgiven through the Son “absolutely.” Amen.


Friday, April 7

Q. What sins should I confess in private?

A. In the presence of God, I should confess that I am guilty for all sins, even sins that are not known to me. This is what we do in the Lord’s Prayer and when we confess in church. However, in my individual confession, I should confess only the sins that are known to me and that trouble me.

Prayer: Lord, I am embarrassed to admit my sins to another human being. But you give me the chance to be forgiven all by myself – to wash away my shame and lift me from my fear of condemnation! Amen.

Saturday, April 8

Q. How shall I examine my conscience?

A. I must look at my daily life in light of the Ten Commandments. How do I act towards my family? How did I treat people today? What are the other “gods” that receive more of my time and attention than God does? I should think about specific situations when I have not loved God with my whole heart, or my neighbor as myself.

Prayer: I love you, heavenly Father, and I know that you love me. Sometimes when I’m angry or disappointed, or even when I’m having a good time, I forget that you even exist. Let me hear your voice again and the words that take me back to my baptism. Amen.

Sunday of the Passion (“Palm Sunday”), April 9

Q. How do I make my individual confession?

A. I ask the pastor for time to talk. We will use the service that is in Evangelical Lutheran Worship on page 243. The pastor is not allowed to tell my secrets to anyone else. The pastor is there in the name of Jesus Christ to help me.

Prayer: Lord, won’t the pastor think I am a bad person? Or is the pastor a human being like me, a sinner who needs the words of forgiveness, too, and does not judge me? Amen.

Monday in Holy Week, April 10

Q. What if I am not bothered by any special sins?

A. I should not torture myself or invent imaginary sins. I don’t have to name particular sins if I really can’t think of any (but that hardly ever happens).   I don’t have to go into all of the details. I may receive absolution after making a general confession.   Are there any sins that don’t trouble me as much as they really should?

Prayer: Father, how can I not be bothered by my sins when I remember how Jesus suffered on the cross to atone for my sins? Amen.

Tuesday in Holy Week, April 11

Q. How can I be sure that I truly am forgiven?

A. The pastor will say the absolution: “God is merciful and blesses you. By the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I, a called and ordained servant of the Word, forgive you your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  I am to have absolute trust in God’s Good News! Also, the pastor will offer to me other words of advice from the Holy Scriptures when my conscience is heavily burdened, or if I feel trapped in a pattern of sin, or need help to do better.

Prayer: O God, my sins were buried with Jesus and remained in the tomb when he rose from the dead.

 Help me to leave the old life behind and to live the new life in the Holy Spirit, until the “old Adam” in me is dead and buried, and has no more power over me. Amen.



 Wednesday in Holy Week, April 12

Q. What is Holy Communion?

A. It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ himself for us Christians to eat and drink.

Q. Where is that written in the Bible?

A. The holy evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke write this, and also St. Paul – In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread and gave thanks; broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: “Take and eat. This is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.” Again after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sins. Do this for the remembrance of me.”    

Prayer: Father, you give me the body and blood of your Son. Jesus is more than a memory! Jesus claims and grasps this bread and wine, and promises to come to his people. Help me with the Holy Spirit to remember with thanksgiving that Jesus is really here! Amen.


Maundy Thursday, April 13   

Q. What good does this eating and drinking do?

A. These words tell us: “given for you” and “shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Our sins are forgiven and also life and salvation are given to us through these words in the sacrament. Where sins are forgiven, there is also life and salvation.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, you give me forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation in the very same body and blood

that was crucified for me and now saves me from hell!  Amen.

Good Friday, April 14

Q. How can physical eating and drinking do such great things?

A. Eating and drinking (without the Word of God) do not do such things. The words and promises of Christ do it: “given for you” and “shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”  These words, along with the act of eating and drinking, are the important part of the sacrament. Anyone who believes these words has what they say – the forgiveness of sins.

Prayer: Lord, who am I, a sinner, to doubt the way that you come and pardon my sins? If your Word commanded me to jump up and down for forgiveness, I should believe your words and jump up and down – and be confident that my sins are forgiven. Amen.

Holy Saturday, April 15

Q. Who, then, receives such a sacrament in a worthy way?

A. Fasting (going without food) and other preparations (prayer or singing hymns) are excellent disciplines for the body. But anyone who believes these words – “given for you” and “shed for you for the forgiveness of sins” – is really worthy and well prepared.  But whoever doubts or does not believe these words is not worthy and is unprepared, because the words “for you” demand a heart that fully believes.

Prayer: Help me to listen and believe that you, the Son of God, are risen and giving me a foretaste of the feast to come in your kingdom. Glory to you, and the Father, and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever! Amen.

Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord (Easter), April 16

So let us keep the festival to which the Lord invites us; Christ is himself the joy of all, the sun that warms and lights us. Now his grace to us imparts eternal sunshine to our hearts.  The night of sin is ended. Hallelujah!

Martin Luther’s Easter hymn – “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Chains”

 A suggestion for celebrating the Great Fifty Days of Easter –

read and pray through the Small Catechism again every day!

 Or offer your copy to someone who doesn’t go to church!


Special Thanks to Rev. Jonathan L. Jenkins

St Michael’s and Zion Lutheran Churches

Klingerstown, PA

Lenten Study Guide 2017: The Small Catechism of Martin Luther



Lenten Study Guide 2017: The Small Catechism of Martin Luther

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Win Entry to CCW Hosts Self-Publishing Conference on January 28, 2017


Contest to Win Free Entry to Self-Publishing Conference starts today and ends on Saturday, January 14th.  

Enter online at:

Capital Christian Writers is hosting a one-day self-publishing conference on Saturday, January 28, 2017.

9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at The King’s Chapel, 12925 Braddock Road Clifton, VA 20124

Thinking about publishing your own book? Learn why self-publishing can be an effective way to get your book out to readers – and how the process works!

For program details, visit:

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Top 10 Posts on During 2016


The list of the most popular posts at yearend always makes interesting reading and the 2016 list is no exception. (Click on the post titles to view the post). Here is the listing:

Plueddemann Demystified Leadership Across Culture 71
Martinez Family Ministry: OASIS Mission in Manassas VA 61
La Promoción con Kindle Termina esta Semana 46
The Owl 41
Open Letter to Our President Elect, Donald Trump 28
Joy Riding 26
Living into the Image 22
Vietnam 22
Koerner Explains DBT and Supporting Skills 20
Germany 18

The most popular post in 2016 was a book review written on March 31, 2014. The title is:

James E. Plueddemann.  2009.  Leading Across Cultures:  Effective Ministry and Mission in the Global Church.  Downers Grove:  IVP Academic.

The topic is leadership in world missions and the book is both informative and controversial.

The second most popular post was a guest blog featuring Pastor Julio Martinez.

Pastor Julio is from Mexico and felt called to plant a church in Manassas, VA. He also has a lively Spanish-language radio show on Tuesday evenings (click on the post for more information).

The third post was an ad that I promoted on Facebook and through Kindle in Spain, Mexico, and Puerto Rico for my Spanish title:  Una Guía Cristiana a la Espiritualidad. During the fall, I abstracted the prayers from this book and published them as a separate eBook in Kindle and EPUB.

The fourth post, The Owl, reflects on a psychology class experience at Parkdale Senior High School. The sixth post, Joy Riding, also focused on my time in high school. The same is true of the eighth post, Vietnam.

The fifth post featured an open letter to president-elect, Donald Trump, the day after the election.

The seventh post is the sermon, Living into the Image, that I preached on September 4th at my oldest daughter, Christine’s, wedding.

The ninth post is a book reviewing an important new approach in psychology for dealing with borderline personality disorder, which was previously held to be untreatable.

The tenth post talks about my experiences traveling and living in Germany as a foreign exchange student.

What is surprising about this list of popular posts? It is perhaps not obvious that both highly technical (leadership in missions; treating mental illness) and highly emotional posts (high school experiences) made the list. It is perhaps also not obvious that Spanish language posts would get a lot of attention.

Thank you for following!

If you would like to be a guest blogger or have suggestions, drop me a line anytime at

Sign up for my email newsletter on my author site at:


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Caminata de Oración (Prayer Walk) in Manassas, Virginia

Holy Spirit Cross at First Presbyterian Church of Annandale in Annandale, VirginiaCaminata de Oración

“¿No te he mandado? Se fuerte y valiente. No tengas miedo; No te desanimes, porque Jehová tu Dios estará contigo dondequiera que vayas.” Josue 1: 9

Lugar: Desde el Centro Comunitario de Georgetown South atreves de la comunidad.

Día:     1 de Diciembre del 2016

Hora:  7 p.m.

¿Por qué una caminata de oración?

Para reunir a personas de todas las religiones de dentro y fuera de la comunidad para orar por el alivio al miedo que ha causado el homicidio ocurrido el 25/11/16. La comunidad de Georgetown South en Manassas, Viriginia ha sufrido ocho tiroteos en el transcurso del 2016. El que resulto con graves consecuencias fue el homicidio de José Tomas Velasquez, de 44 años que ocurrió el día 25 de noviembre a la l a.m.

Algunos de estos incidentes están relacionados con los mismos sospechosos, pero todos tienen una cosa común; Los que dispararon  no son de nuestra comunidad.

Ellos vinieron a nuestra comunidad para herir, robar y matar, pero vuelvo a repetir no son de nuestra comunidad.

Ellos necesitan entender que sus acciones no van alterar o detener el progreso de esta comunidad que está trabajando por un cambio a sí mismo.

La Comunidad de Georgetown South necesita entender que es apoyada por todos los presentes esta noche, muchos de los cuales no viven aquí, pero que apoyan a esta comunidad de todo corazón.

Ruta del Recorrido:

Iniciara en: 9444 Taney Rd

Continuando por la Taney hacia la Grant Avenue. Luego procediendo de la Grant hacia la Byrd Dr. Luego Aspen y Byrd hacia l “H” Green (detrás de la 9251 Byrd) hacia Maury y Taney, de la Maury a Buckner Road. Despues a la Taney y retornar al Centro Comunitario.

 Direcciones: Mantengan sus velas encendidas durante toda la caminata para poder ver lo que se esconde de tras de la oscuridad en nuestra comunidad.

Para más información:

Martinez Family Ministry: OASIS Mission in Manassas Virginia (click here)


English translation: Prayer Walk

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Location: Georgetown South Community Center through the community

Date:  December 1,  2016

Time: 7 p.m.

Why a prayer walk?

To bring together people from all faiths from within and outside the community to pray for relief from the fear that has been brought about by the homicide that occurred on 11/ 25/16.

The Georgetown South community in Manassas, Virginia has experienced eight drive-by shootings in 2016. The most serious of which resulted in the homicide of Jose Tomas Velasquez, age 44 on November 25th at lam. While some of these incidents are related with the same suspects, they all have one thing in common; the shooters are not from our community.

They came to our community to wound, rob, and kill, but they are not from among us. They need to understand that their actions will not alter or deter this community’s progress to change itself. The Georgetown South community needs to understand that it is supported by all those present tonight, many of whom do not live here, but who support this community wholeheartedly.


Begin: 9444 Taney Rd

Continue on Taney to Grant Avenue. Proceed down Grant to Byrd Drive to Aspen and Byrd then through the green “H” Green (behind 9251 Byrd) to Maury and Taney, down Maury to Buckner to Taney and return to the Community Center.

Directions: Try to keep your candles lit the entire walk chasing the shadows and what lurks within away from our community.

For more information:

Martinez Family Ministry: OASIS Mission in Manassas Virginia (click here)




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Thinking about publishing your own book?

ccw_banner_12012016Thinking about publishing your own book?

Learn why self-publishing can be an effective way to get your fiction or nonfiction book out to readers – and how the process works!

Featuring keynote speaker Hallee Bridgeman (popular novelist and cookbook author) and workshops on:

· The craft of writing
· The logistical details of publishing
· The marketing process.

Plus, you can participate in targeted group coaching sessions, so you can leave the conference with a firm plan of where to go from here.

Price (including lunch) for nonmembers:
· Early Bird (through Dec.31) $60

Learn more: or 703-691-1676

Register online at

“Self-publishing isn’t easy, but it’s fun and sometimes even lucrative. Plus, your book could change the world.” – Guy Kawasaki, co-author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book

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